Sewer Backup in Basement – Guidelines to Restore
Few things are more alarming than finding your personnel contents floating in sewer water. If this has happens in your home then you are not alone. The unfortunate experience of having a sewer backup in a basement is a common insurance loss. The EPA estimates that 75,000 sanitary sewer overflows may take place each year in the US.
Basement drains backing up are almost always a cause for alarm because of the contents of contaminated matter and chemicals that are replete in sewage. Besides the obvious human feces, dirty water from washing clothes and bodies the additional amount of impurity is staggering. There are fertilizers, toilet paper, too many chemicals to mention, bacteria like e-coli and up to 81 recognized viruses that are capable of causing illness.
It is almost unimaginable that in the presence of such a traumatic display of filth there are some that believe a little bleach water and a mop will restore the property bringing it back to a safe and sanitary environment. The amount of horror stories resulting in faulty cleanup could fill a library not to mention make for great anecdotal material for an environmental hygienist convention.
Whether it is the sewage backup in basement cost that convinces some homeowners to undergo the restoration themselves or lack of understanding risk, the effort almost always incomplete. Not that the DIU attempt is not worthy of admiration, it’s just that when you’re dealing with invisible microorganisms and the hidden dangers of trapped water, the professional restorer may be the better choice.
Most professional restoration companies that provide sewage cleanup service are equipped with specialty moisture detection instruments, safe and effective germ eliminating chemicals and the required knowledge to mitigate watery disasters with great efficiency. Most novice attempts to clean up after a sewer backup in basement are second-rate because of a lack of knowledge on industry standards that assure human health and safety.
Causes of Basement Flooding
Sewer backups may occur in basements during heavy rain, while washing clothes, after a toilet is flushed or anytime the sewer system drain is collecting water. Ideally the sewer drain will channel all waste water away from the property into the city sanitary system. The mechanics are a proven marvel of modern US technology that many countries presently envy.
If the source of the sewage backup is not easily ascertained it may require a licensed plumbing contractor to help you troubleshoot the sewage backup in your basement accurately. In some cases it will be plainly identified while other times the issue will be more involved to diagnose and repair.
Here are the 4 most common causes for a basement to have a sewer backup and knowing what to look for and may help you establish a fix so future drain backups are avoided.
4 Common Things That May Cause a Sewer Backup
1. Heavy rains, community flooding, and sudden storms: Sometimes a sewer backup in a basement drain is not a result of a problem with your plumbing or your sewer line. It is a direct result of too much rain in a short period of time. The sewer drain is only so big, anywhere from 4” to 6” in radius and can be overwhelmed during inclement weather leaving water nowhere else to go but a basement.
2. Sewer and plumbing line damage: Over time sewer lines and drains can acquire small cracks that allow tree roots to enter. As sewer lines age and tree roots continue to grow in underground piping the damage increases and ultimately a sewer line breaks, wears away and collapses. This unfortunately is a worst case scenario costing many dollars to repair.
3. Sewer line clogs: This is exactly what it sounds like; a clog disrupting the natural flow of storm and sanitary water from property that will cause a sewer backup in basement if not corrected. Wastewater from your home is mechanically designed to enter the drain system that acts as a conduit taking waste water away from the property. Tree roots, a small child’s toy or any number of other encumbrances can block water from flowing resulting in a sewer backup in basement.
4. Faulty city management of sewers during heavy rain: It is completely understandable when one home gets a flooded basement after a heavy downpour. When multiple homes do, it is almost always a city issue. Either a pump has failed or did not engage or the city is not equipped for those rare once in a decade storms that cause community flooding.
How to Prevent Sewage Backups
Because a backed up sewer can cost thousands of dollars in repairs for floors, electrical systems, walls, furniture and other belongings, prevention is the best cure.
Many homeowners do not know that they are responsible for the sewer lateral which is a common source for a sewage backup in basement. The sewer lateral is the part of the underground plumbing that extends into the street or public right of way. If it has a crack, collapses or fills with tree roots, waste and/or ground water will back up into the property.
Yearly maintenance of this sewer lateral can avoid expensive repairs and sewage cleanup cost. Having it snaked out by a plumbing professional and afterward having them send a camera through it will keep you informed of its health as well as alert you to emanate dangers of a sewer backup.
If you avoid placing large amounts of paper contents down the sink or toilet as well as never putting grease down the kitchen sink, you will be positively affecting the health and longevity of your sewers. Running hot water after placing cooking oils and grease down the drain is insufficient. The grease will quickly cool off and solidify either in the p-trap, drain or underground sewer lateral. Even the best drain system can be badly damaged by irresponsible behavior that sends objects and collected solids down the toilet or sink regularly.
What to do if You Have a Sewer Backup in Basement
Soon after a sewer backup in a basement the air becomes heavy by sewer gasses and any occupants remaining in the home are breathing sewage fumes. The foul odor of a sewer backup is unmistakable because the heavy presence of gases is a sure indicator of the infectious environment. Young children and the elderly should vacate the property immediately and not return till mitigation and cleanup have been completed. Action needs to happen to begin the cleanup.
In rare instances a sewer backup in a basement can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, and permanent damage to your business or home. If water has made its way to electrical outlets or switches and become wet there will be a strong chance that electrical dangers could exist. Anytime water comes into contact with electrical of any kind it is recommended to have an electrician evaluate for any problems that could cause an electrical fire.
Furnace, Duct-work and Vents Need to be Professionally Cleaned – After Sewage is Discovered
Often when there is a sewer backup in basement property owners will call a professional restoration company to do the cleaning. If they are an experienced company they will know how to navigate the insurance claim according to the standards required by insurance companies. They will know to take “before” and “after” pictures of the basement at its worst and each advancing step forward to recovery.
Action Extraction services provides cleanup and restoration for any sewage disaster using the latest in cutting edge technology to assure safe and sanitary conditions are fully restored. They also know how to put customers at ease after a basement has flooded from a sewage backup. The customers are understandably distraught and recognize there conditions are threatening their health.
Sewer water is grossly contaminated with human feces, chemicals, bacteria and up to 81 recognized viruses that immediately place a property in a state of emergency. Such water instantly destroys everything it comes into contact with; carpet, dry wall, moldings, furniture and other related contents and belongings.
Action Extraction specializes in such high risk cleanup and has the training and resources to rescue properties using the highest standards in the industry to fully sanitize and restore properties after sewage disaster events.
If you have a home or business with a sewer backup in the basement, then contact the professionals with the greatest amount of experience today, call Action Extraction for a free evaluation of your property.